Dierks Bentley stopped by The Bobby Bones Show today (Feb.24) to promote his new album, Gravel & Gold, and why he had to rework it three times. And we find out if he’s ever seen a UFO while flying his plane and more!
After two decades worth of hits, 21 number-one songs, and countless headlining tours, Bentley released his tenth studio album, Gravel & Gold, today (Feb.24.) But the project almost never happened. In March of 2020, Bentley found himself like the rest of the world stuck in isolation and not sure what to do with all the extra time. He moved to Colorado to spend more time with family and do more outdoor activities. As the lockdown continued, he wasn’t in a musical mindset and found it hard to get back into the music, let alone come back to Nashville at all. In fact, Bentley’s 2017 release “The Mountain” he thought was going to be his farewell song. He was ready to ride off into the Colorado sunset with that song and leave Nashville behind.
But his label came knocking for a new record. To buy himself some more time to figure out what he wanted to do for his tenth album, he turned in his song “Gone,” which was inspired by his current state of mind and life in Colorado at the time. He was gone from Nashville and was taking a break from music. That song laid down the foundation of the direction he wanted to go in for his tenth album. But it wasn’t easy to create. He thought he had completed the album twice but failed. Every time he revisited the work, something just wasn’t right. The first attempt was the demo session. Four months later he went back to the studio to work on it with his friend and songwriter/producer Luke Dick, but felt the project now sounded like it belonged to Dick. So, he went back to the studio for a third time a few months after that and produced the album himself. But still felt it was hard to create “something new.” He knew being able to release a tenth album was a huge milestone he was grateful for, but he wanted it to be something bigger than anything he’s done before. He didn’t want to make a compilation album or a greatest hits album, he instead wanted it to have a mix of all his sounds from his past nine albums. Bentley isn’t sure when a hit is right or not right, so he brought in a lot of people to work with and help him figure it out.
Some of the people he brought in to help create the album were Billy Strings, who is featured on his new song, “High Note,” and Ashley McBryde who sings on his song, “Cowboy Boots.” He said Nashville is a town full of great musicians and songwriters and being able to bring them in to the studio to help him do what he needed to do for this album, that’s what this record is an example of. Bentley said if he had to turn in one album that best represents his career in the last 10 years, Gravel & Gold would be it.
Track one, “Same Ol' Me,” he wrote with Dick. Bentley didn’t think he was the same old him anymore, but he realized he was. He’s still playing the same music with the same band and still touring. He said writing that song was a reminder that you may think you’re changing a lot in life, but a lot still stays the same for better or for worse.
One of Bentley’s biggest passions is flying. After being on a flight that had a lot of turbulence, he decided he was going to get his pilot's license because he likes to be in control. He fly's his plane all the time, but said he’s never seen a UFO. He believes they are real and out there so he’s always looking for one. Another passion of Bentley’s is ice baths. He said he likes to challenge himself and finds it as a form of meditation. The longest he’s been able to stay in an ice bath was 24 minutes during a competition on tour.
Bentley shared that he currently has some tour ideas he’s working on for this summer that he’ll announce soon.